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Free images -  Insects - Flies 

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Did you know….

That there are about 160,000 known species of flies worldwide and about 20,000 species in the United States and Canada?

Adult flies are most active on warm, sunny days, but some species come out only at night.

Fly species are divided into two main groups based on their antennae - those having long, segmented antennae, and those have short, often bristle-like antennae.  

True flies are insects in the order Diptera.  The name comes from the Greek language “di” meaning “two” and “ptera” meaning “wings”.  This order also includes mosquitoes, midges, gnats and others.  A distinguishing factor that separates a fly from other insects is that they have only  two wings (one pair) for flying located on the mesothorax and a pair of “halteres” on the metathorax.  

“Halteres” are small knobbed structures that look like clubs.  Look for the two clubs in the image above - see them just below the wings?  Halteres move back and forth quickly and help the insect to rotate and balance its body during flight.  Some parasitic species, however, have no wings!

While flies can be a nuisance, pests and spread disease, they and their larvae are also important food sources for many other species and act as pollinators.  

Take note of the spelling of insect names.  Recently, true flies are written as two words:  bee fly; crane fly, etc.  Other insects in an order other than diptera also have the word “fly” in their names, but they are written as one word:  butterfly, dragonfly, mayfly, firefly, etc.  This is a relatively new way of distinguishing species, but beware, older books you may consult may have different spellings using hyphenated words like dragon-fly.


Fun fly facts:  

- flies have mobile heads;

- most flies have large compound eyes on the sides of their heads and three small ocelli on the top.

- flies can fly up and down, side to side and even backwards.

- flies have sticky, hairy feet and can stick to almost any surface.  They can walk upside down.

- flies don’t have teeth – they have a long tongue called a proboscis which sucks up their food like a straw.

- common houseflies can liquefy many solid foods with their saliva.

- flies eat garbage, rotting items and manure.  Their feeding range is about two miles.  Germs from these items remain on the feet and mouth of flies and are then transmitted to where-ever the fly lands.  Think about that when you next see a fly sitting on your lunch!

- flies can smell things up to 750 yards away.

- flies are often carriers of diseases such as typhoid fever, cholera, dysentery, etc.  The disease is picked up by the fly’s leg hairs or mouth and transmitted as it regurgitates them onto you food during the process of liquefying solid food.

- a fly’s life cycle is about 30 days.  A female lays between 400-600 eggs which hatch into small, grub-like larvae also known as “maggots”.  The larvae grow into adult flies within a few days.



Fly Image Categories


Bibio xanthopus - March Fly 

- 2 images + png clipart of insect.


Sialis velata? - Alder Fly

- 9 images of flies on Alder trees.  Species identification is difficult - there are 24 species of Sialis in the U.S. and Canada.  Sialis velata is the most widely distributed species in Canada.

Crane Fly - Family Tipulidae

- 4 images


- 9 images of flies on Pine trees and swarming during courtship.

Musca domestica - Housefly (House-Fly)

- 3 images of the most common of all domestic flies. Musca domestica makes up 91% of all flies in human habitations.  

Sawflies - order Hymenoptera

- 7 images of the caterpillar-like larvae.  


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Are You Baffled 
by Bugs ?

Did you know...

That all insects are bugs, but not all bugs are insects!


"I dreamed
 I was a butterfly,
 flitting around 
in the sky; 
then I awoke.  
Now I wonder:  
Am I a man 
who dreamt 
of being a butterfly, 
or am I a butterfly
that I am a man?"

~ Chuang Tse ~
Chinese philosopher


Insects have 3 body parts:  a head, thorax and abdomen.  They also have six legs and two antennae.

Spiders and Scorpions have eight legs and are not considered insects!


According to some sources, the total number of insect species is somewhere between 15 and 30 million!

There are 900,000 known species in the world.


Insane About Insects ?


Did you know...

Scorpions can live for more than one year without eating!


Mosquitoes have 47 teeth, but only the female mosquitoe bites using it's proboscis.

Fireflies, sometimes called Lightningbugs, are not true bugs or flies.  They are beetles!

Every year, insects eat about one third of the world's food crops.

Only male crickets can chirp.  They will chirp faster in warm weather.  

Most insects hatch from eggs.

The average bed contains 2-6 million dust mites!


Are You An Enthusiastic
Entomologist ?

Did you know...

Every year, the average person eats several insects while sleeping.  

Insects breath through a complicated network of air tubes called tracheae that open along the sides of the insects body.

Nearly all insect growth involves metamorphosis.

The average housefly lives only two weeks!

A female ladybug lays about 1000 eggs in her lifetime.

Honeybees fly at a speed of 13-15 mph.

Even though spiders have eight eyes, they still can't see very well.

A cockroach can live up to 9 days without its head!





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